Summary Of My Papa's Waltz By Theodore Roethke

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While the subject of “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke has spurred passionate academic debate from professors, scholars, and students alike, the imagery, syntax, and diction of the poem clearly support the interpretation that Roethke writes “My Papa’s Waltz” to reminisce on a fond recollection of dancing and spending time with his father as a young boy. Roethke’s use of phrasing and diction allows for the reader to interpret contrasting meanings and storylines. On one hand people view the poem as a playful memory of Roethke and his father dancing through their home and having fun with each other. But, others depict the story as a dark one. In this case it is interpreted as Roethke’s relationship with his abusive and alcoholic father and the hardships he must face due to the situation. These plot lines are almost complete opposites of each other, yet are the interpretation of the same poem. Roethke’s wording allows for contradicting meanings to be seen depending on how the reader chooses to analyze and understand the poem, because of this contradictory “My Papa’s Waltz” is still discussed to this day.
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Specifically this poem tells of the time when the author’s father would pick him up and happily waltz around the house with him while creating a somewhat chaotic scene. From the first reading of “My Papa’s Waltz”, the piece could be simply seen as a playful and lively waltz between a father and
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